The lights are on
What new ideas the game brings to the table and how well old ideas are presented.
How good a game looks, taking into account any flaws such as bad collision or pop-up.
Does the game’s music and sound effects get you involved or do they make you resolve to always play with the volume down?
Basically, the controller to human interface. The less you think about the hunk of plastic in your hands, the better the playability.
Flat out, just how fun the game is to play. The most important factor in rating a game.
Citadel is a brawler spin-off of the Sacred RPG series, but you don't have to
be familiar with the original games to enjoy this new entry. Yes, you're
running around the world of Ancaria, one of the playable characters is a
Seraphim, and there are plenty of other touchstones to be found. To newcomers,
it's all standard fantasy tropes like burning villages and powerful artifacts.
character classes fulfill most the roles of a well-rounded Dungeons &
Dragons party. The warrior specializes in melee combat, the ranger hangs back
with his rapid-fire bow, the mage uses offensive fire and ice spells, and the
shaman specializes in lightning and plant magic with a dash of helpful buffs
thrown in. Unlike many brawlers, all of the characters feel markedly different
while retaining a similar control scheme that makes them all easy to pick up
and play. The warrior specializes in melee tanking, but all of the others can
handle themselves when the action gets close as well. Combos are extremely easy
to grasp and recall on the fly, so you can knock enemies to the edge of the
screen or air juggle them as the situation demands. The dodge roll on the right
stick is your primary defensive maneuver and it works very well (you can't
count on the block with more powerful enemies).
Southend Interactive has created a fluid and versatile combat system. Various
enemy types push you to change your strategy, and environmental hazards
simultaneously present danger and opportunity. Golden Axe fans will enjoy the
variety of powerful mounts and environment-clearing super moves that build up
over time. A wide mix of tricky mini-bosses and huge screen-filling menaces
rain fire from above.
these positive traits help to balance out my complete indifference to the
story, characters, and overall tone. I forced myself to watch the narrated pans
over static art that break up the chapters at least once. In-game dialogue is
equally as dry, seemingly taken straight from the standard evil villain
handbook. With games like Scott Pilgrim, Double Dragon: Neon, and Castle
Crashers brimming with character and charisma, Sacred Citadel falls short in
this respect by a wide margin.
character types, one would assume that this is a four-player co-op game, but
for some reason this disappointingly tops out at three. Creating your party
ends up as a choice of "Who do we leave out?" when you're teaming up with two
other friends. You don't have the option to double up on character types, so
kiss your dream of rolling with a team of warriors goodbye. Online play worked
smoothly in my tests, though teammates would occasionally warp across the
screen. This didn't hinder things much, and I prefer it to slowing down the
entire gameplay screen to a crawl if the connections are dipping. One
frustrating bug in co-op frequently cropped up: When tutorial messages appear
they often stay up for the rest of the level, blocking much of the lower part
of the screen in the process.
elements pervade the entire experience. Characters level up and gain points you
can invest into four stat categories (attack, defense, dexterity, and power).
Some characters benefit more from certain upgrades, but you're free to invest
against type and make your mage a tank if you like. Be careful, though. You
can't respec your stats, so if you don't like the way your character is
developing, you've got to scrap him or her and start from scratch.
drops here and there in every level, and more often than not it's better than
your current equipment. In a refreshing break from the rules, pickups will
never fade away, so you can focus on the fighting at hand and pilfer later.
Each character dual wields melee weapons, so you can equip any combination of
swords, axes, and maces with various elemental properties. Armor and
character-specific weapons round out the pickups. While everyone shares gold,
you have to battle over equipable items. You can only carry one of each item
category at a time, meaning that you have to drop your current sword to get a
new one. This is usually fine, but it sucks when you encounter a piece that's
just above your level and you're forced to leave it behind. Why not allow
players to sell old loot at the shops in town or at least offer a backpack slot
or two for situations like these?
Sacred Citadel gets a lot of core mechanics right, and
it's always fun to load up on powerful new loot. If you just want to run around
and smash stuff and don't care about compelling antagonists or heroes, this
does the job. But if you're looking for the total package, plenty of great
alternatives are already out there.
Email the author Bryan Vore, or follow on Twitter, and Game Informer.